Monday, October 21, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 54 (Vol # 7) Dated 21 Oct 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 54 (Vol # 7) Dated 21 Oct 2013

(These e-mails are translations of talks given by PeriyavãL of Kanchi Kaamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 years while he was the pontiff in the earlier part of the last century. These have been published by Vanadi Padippagam, Chennai, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each as Deivathin Kural. Today we are going ahead from the last paragraph on page No 437 of Volume 7 of the Tamil original. The readers may note that herein ‘man/he’ includes ‘woman/she’ too mostly. These e-mails are all available at updated continually)

Thiruneeru The Ashes
31.           Parameswara has a title as 'Abhishekapriya' – 'अभिषेकप्रिय', meaning that he is very fond of being bathed.  Pour any amount of water or milk or honey and such things, he is very happy.  He is also very fond of being smeared with the powder of ashes known as Vibhuti.  So he is also known as 'Vibhutipriya' – 'विभूतिप्रिय'.  In the very first song of Thevãram the child Thiru Gnãna Sambandar says 'kãdudaya sudalaip podi poosi' – 'காடுடைய சுடலைப் பொடி பூசி'.  Swami smears himself with the ashes of the 'Cremation Ghãt', where the dead bodies are burnt to ashes!  But we prepare ashes by burning Gomayam dried, finely crushed, sifted adding some aromatic compounds, with which we do Abhishekam to Parameswara and apply on our forehead and in hands and chest, don't we?  How is it made?    It is made by making globes of cow dung and incinerating them.  There is nothing purer and holier than that Vibhuti.  Gnãna Sambanda Swami's 'mandiram ãvadum neeru' – 'மந்திரமாவதும் நீறு' song we should hear to know its greatness.  There is one Upanishad by the name of 'Bhasmajãbãlopanishad' – 'भस्मजाबालोपनिषद्' in which Parameswara himself explains as to how to make that Vibhuti from Gomayam and that it cleanses us of all our sins.  'Malam' – 'मलं' in Sanskrit is the name of excreta.  The 'Malam' of the cow has that level of sanctity.  In Tamil too, in the local lingo there is a word 'kasmãlam' – 'கஸ்மாலம்' as a word of curse, which basically means shit!  But the cow's excreta itself has the power to remove all our dirt especially from our minds.  VaishNavas also take the Bhasma from Homam wear it as two vertical stripes with a centre line with the red ochre Kumkum while chanting the appropriate mantra.  In it the ashes will be a mix of burnt Samit-s and Gomayam used in the fire of Yagnya.  To cleanse oneself there are two methods one is to bathe and the other is to apply the Vibhuti.  To bathe in Tamil is 'neerãdutal' – 'நீராடுதல்' and to apply Vibhuti is 'neeRãdutal' – 'நீறாடுதல்', basically bathing in ashes of the Gomayam.   

'Pãlãbhishekam alla; Pãlabhishekam' –
'பாலாபிஷேகம் அல்ல; பாலபிஷேகம்'
32.          A point to note here.  (Here PeriyavãL is correcting an error in pronunciation that people often make while uttering some of the Sanskrit phrases in Tamil.  If I make use of Sanskrit and Tamil scripts or fonts, there will be confusion galore.  So, I am going to restrict myself to English trans-literation only as far as possible and still convey the message.)  When the Abhishekam is done with sandal wood that is known as 'Chandan', it is mentioned as 'Chandanãbhishekam'.  Similarly milk in Sanskrit is known as 'Ksheer', when this is used to bathe God's statue, we join the two words 'Ksheer' and Abhishekam and that becomes 'Ksheerãbhishekam'.  We cannot similarly say 'Pãlãbhishekam' when milk is the same but we are using the Tamil word for it 'Pãl' that is, the combined word has to become 'Pãlabhishekam' only.  There is a subtle point of grammar involved here.  Since the words 'Chandana' and 'Ksheera' end in a 'a', when you next attach another word starting with a 'a', at the junction point known as 'sandhi', it has to become an extended 'ã'.  In the case of the words 'Pãl' and 'Thane' meaning honey, when combined with 'Abhishekam' they become 'பாலபிஷேகம்' and 'தேனபிஷேகம்' and not 'பாலாபிஷேகம்' and 'தேனாபிஷேகம்' as some people tend to say!  Similarly when adding numbers to 'Aksharam'; 'pancha' + 'aksharam' = 'panjãksharam'; 'ashta' + 'aksharam' = 'ashtãksharam'; but when we combine 'shat' with 'aksharam' it will only become 'shataksharam' and not 'shatãksharam'.  Do you note the difference?

33.          We know that the cow's dung is holy, so also are the dust of its hoofs.  Normally the dust of our feet is supposed to be dirty.  But the same thing of divine beings is accepted willingly.  When the cows in a herd are returning home after grazing kick up a dust cloud, don't they?  To stand in that dust cloud is said to be a holy bath, even superior to having a dip in the sacred rivers or ponds.  Normally we take a bath to remove the dirt from our bodies.  Here the kicked up dust itself is a sacred bath.  In Govinda Ashtakam our ÃchãryãL says that, "Gopala was fully covered in the dust kicked up by the hoofs of the cows – 'shaswat gokhura nirdhoototgatadhooli dhoosara sowbhagyam' – 'शस्वद् गोखुर निर्धूतोत्गत धूलीधूसर सौभाग्यम्' – that to be so covered by the dust cloud was adding to his divine beauty, it seems"!  That evening time when the cows come home is specially termed as 'go dhooli lagnam', an auspicious moment.  We mentioned two mothers as 'Go Mãtã' and 'Bhu Mãtã' isn't it?  Amongst them 'Bhu Mãtã' seems to let her own dust be kicked up by the hoofs of the cows – 'Go Mãtã' and gets her own Abhishekam done by it.

If No Cows, No Yagnya
34.          Abhishekam comes in the procedures for worship.  For that the proof is to be found in the Agamas and PurãNãs.  More than them our religion is fully dependent on the Vedas for its systems and procedures.  Without being based on the Vedas, the Agamas and PurãNãs have no 'locus standee' of their own.  There is no greater fallacy than to think that Vedas are meant only for our country.  Though this land is known as the 'Karma Bhoomi' that the effectiveness of various Karmas based on the Vedas are optimised only if done on this land, the benefits of those actions go to the entire world.  The Veda Karmas are done here so that the benefits may go to the whole world.  It is like the heart being the centre of the blood circulation system, the benefits of Veda Karmas done here go to every part of the globe.  So it means that only as long as the Vedas remain current here in our country, the world will be hale and hearty.  The crux remains in Vedic Yagnya Karma Anushtãnãs, without an iota of doubt.  For the conduct of Yagnya two things are essential.  One is the Karta the one who is called the 'Yajamãna' and the other is the cow which provides most of the things used in a Yagnya.   

35.          One item that is the most important thing used in a Yagnya is the ghee aka the melted butter, called 'ãjyam' – 'आज्यं' in Sanskrit.  The word 'havis' – 'हविस' known in Tamil as 'அவி', is the generic name for all things offered in the fire as sacrifice as 'ãhuti'.  Still as the Cow's ghee is the main thing, it gets the name as the 'havis'.  All other items so offered will also have to be purified by adding a few drops of ghee.  In Agnihotram and such Yagnyas, milk, curd and 'sattuma' a type of a cereal powder is also added.  If the milk and curd will dampen the fire, it is the ghee which is like the main fuel and Gomayam dried into cakes are used in the fire of the Homam to keep the fire going.  So, please note that without the Yajamãna and the Cow there can be no Yagnya whatsoever! 

To Take Care of the Cow is to Take Care of the World at Large!
36.          For universal welfare the Vedas have as much importance as the spinal cord in a human body.  The spinal cord for the Vedas is the repeated conduct of Yagnyas.  For the conduct of Yagnyas the two most important beings are the conductor Yajamãna and the provider the Cow.  So to take care of the cow is tantamount to taking proper care of the whole world.  So, it is said in Tamil, 'pasu kãttale pãrinai kãttal' – 'பசு காத்தலே பாரினைக் காத்தல்'.  Hence there is this famous prayer which we say at the end of all religious ceremonies meaning, 'Let the Brahmins and Cows be taken care of and kept in ease and comfort ever so that all the worlds be happy'!  When there are so many animals it is the cow singled out for this prayer and when there are so many castes the Brahmin has been similarly singled out.  We have already identified as to how without the cow there can be no conduct of Yagnyas.  Then it is the Brahmin whose actions such as daily, periodical and special Karma Anushtãnãs all contribute for the welfare of the world in a big way.  His individual personal benefit is only a fraction of what he is doing for the world.  So, to be a Brahmin is to be already employed in 'World Wide Social Service'!  If these two categories continue to contribute, the whole world stands to gain.  That is the reason for taking their names and not for any reasons of partiality.

37.          This is the first of the slokas said at the end of PãrãyaNam of Ramayana.  Since Ramayana is about the Kings of the Ikshvaku Dynasty, who were regularly conducting many of the Yagnyas such as Aswamedha, and especially about the life history if Sri Rama Chandra Murthy, the first line is a rider that those who ruling over the masses from a position of governance, should do so by the most judicious ways, then praying for the welfare of the Cow, then the Brahmin and then of the whole world, the sloka is as follows: -
स्वस्ति प्रजाभ्य: परिपालयन्तां
   swasti prjãbhya: paripãlayantãm
न्यायेन मार्गेण महीं महीशा: |
      nyãyena mãrgeNa mahim maheeshã:
गो ब्राह्मणेभ्यो शुभमस्तु नित्यं
      go brahmaNebhyo: shubhamastu nityam
लोका: समस्था: सुखिनो भवन्तु ||     
      lokã: samastã: sukhino bhavantu ||

38.          Sri Rama and Sri Krishna are like the two eyes of this nation.  The prayer to Sri Krishna is also strikingly similar with the same purport as the above sloka: -
नमो ब्र्ह्मण्य देवाय गो ब्राह्मण हिताय च |
namo brhmaNya devãya go brahmaNa hitãya cha |
जगत हिताय कृष्णाय गोविन्दाय नमो नम: ||
jagat hitãya krishNãya govindãya namo nama: ||

39.          Thus, as the upholders of the tradition of conducting Yagnya Karma, the Brahmin and as the provider of all the important ingredients for its conduct, the Cow aka the Go have been mentioned while praying for their continued excellence and wellbeing.  The point to note here is that, even in this the 'Go' has been given the pride of place and the Brahmin's name is taken only secondly in Ramayana MangaLa Sloka, in the prayer to Sri Krishna and generally also, the Cow has been given the first place.  The Brahmins were considered as 'Bhu Devas' that is, divine beings on earth.  This is meant for those Brahmins who have virtually sacrificed their all for the Vedas, for the conduct of various Yagas, Yagnyas and Karma Anushtãnãs and not for those who are Brahmins only in name sake in the present day world and have reneged on their duties to which they were born to.  By the Brahmin letting his duties go by default, conduct of such activities as Yagas and Yagnyas have dwindled and so has the Cow fallen from it exalted position

(To be continued.)




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